Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Little Red Elf

Barbara Barbieri McGrath; Illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet

I think most people are aware of the story of the Little Red Hen. A classic tale where the hen does all the work to make a loaf of bread, from planting the wheat to baking the bread. None of the animals have the time to help her ... until it comes to eating the bread. Suddenly, the busy parties have all the time in the world to help with the tasty part. To the readers' satisfaction, the hen declares that only those who helped with the work shall enjoy the spoils.

Little Red Elf is the adorable Christmas adaptation of this classic story. Little red elf lives in a cozy workshop at the North Pole with a reindeer, a penguin and a hare. While the elf toils in the workshop, the reindeer prefers to snooze, the penguin enjoys long bubble baths and the hare slumbers by the fireplace. Little red elf has a positive attitude and a strong work ethic. While the others loaf, she cleans the workshop, fetches the mail and polishes the sleigh.

One day little red elf stumbles upon some pinecones that she knows would make beautiful Christmas decorations. Unsurprisingly, none of the others have the time to help plant or water the pinecones. They certainly couldn't be bothered to help cut down the tree and haul it into the workshop, nor festoon it with festive lights and sparkly decorations. Little red elf does all of this herself. The others only show interest in the tree project when the presents appear! They are practically falling over themselves to lend a hand then. Little red elf takes the opportunity to teach the others a lesson, in a nice way.

The illustrations by Rosalinde Bonnet are just too darn precious! By far, the most adorable interpretation of this story that I have ever seen. The woodland creatures are just bursting with cuteness. Even the mice have their own underground city with a tiny stove and miniature four poster beds in their mouse house. The book's adorable factor is tempered by the humor, reaching a fine balance. The animals toss off snide one-liners, such as the hare claiming to be allergic to helping. The end result is a great Christmas book to add to your collection.


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